Vision and learning are intimately related. In fact, research indicates 80% of learning is dependent upon a child’s ability to see and 75% of the school day is spent in visual activities. So, good vision is essential for students of all ages to reach their full academic potential. Vision is a complex process that involves several visual skills, and more than 65% of all the pathways to the brain. One in four children have undiagnosed eye problems which can interfere with learning and lead to academic and/or behavioral problems. However, it is important to know that these children frequently do not report symptoms because they think everyone sees the same way they do .
Recognizing that inequities were occurring in the Omaha community for many of its minority, poor, and refugee children, Building Healthy Futures convened the Omaha Child Vision Collaborative in February 2015. The Child Vision Collaborative includes cross-sector partners from education, government, insurance, non-profit, health care, post-secondary education, and vision health professional organizations armed with a charge:
The following people and organizations supported our pilot vision screening providing time, expertise, space, supplies, man-power, and encouragement.
February – May 2015
Conducted landscape analysis of
August – December 2015
Worked to identify:
Conducted pilot screening to identify best practices for screening large populations of students:
March 20-24, 2017
Vision is a complex phenomenon that occurs in various parts of the brain, not in the eyes. The eyes merely send information to the brain to be processed. The visual areas of the brain send information to the motor areas, directing the hands, feet and body to react to what has been seen. Eye problems and visual processing problems in the brain both affect the development of eye hand and eye body coordination.
In addition to motor skills, children develop important mental concepts like object permanence, causal relationship, constancy, classification, and conservation with sight. Vision problems hinder their ability to engage in the process, thus hindering their cognitive growth. Social problems also develop with vision problems. Children observe facial expressions and body language in order to properly interpret people’s emotional responses. Impaired vision can hinder their ability to participate in processes that are crucial to their social development.
Some children with learning difficulties exhibit specific behaviors of hyperactivity and distractibility. These children are often labeled as having "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder" (ADHD). However, undetected and untreated vision problems can elicit some of the very same signs and symptoms commonly attributed to ADHD. Due to these similarities, some children may be mislabeled as having ADHD when, in fact, they have an undetected vision problem.
According to the American Optometric Association, children should have an eye exam by no later than 6 months old, then again by age 3 years, and just before starting school. School-age children need an exam every two years after that if they have no visual problems. But if your child requires eyeglasses or contact lenses, schedule visits every 12 months.
Frequent eye exams are important because during the school years your child's eyeglasses prescription can change frequently. Your eye care practitioner also will ensure that your child has the visual skills required for success in school and sports, such as accurate and comfortable eye teaming, peripheral vision, ease of focusing from distance to near and hand-eye coordination.